The former home of artist Carlos Páez Vilaró, now a labyrinthine museum and hotel called Casapueblo, has a way of confusing visitors. Perhaps it’s the Gaudí-esque architecture and Santorini color palette that make you believe, for a fleeting moment, that you’re far away on some Mediterranean shore when you’re really in Uruguay.
This stretch of the Uruguayan coast from Punta Ballena to José Ignacio often confounds those who expect South America to be undeveloped, underprivileged or troubled. Here, it’s none of those things. I’ve lived in South America for half a decade and, over the years, heard countless tales of the ritzy beaches that curve along the Atlantic east of Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo. Why, I wondered, had so many South Americans made the continent’s second-smallest nation their summer playground? And why were an increasing number of U.S. celebrities following suit? The intrigue festered until I finally booked a flight to see for myself… (continue reading at The Chicago Tribune).